REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL 2021 MOCK IGF (TEAM B) - ROLE PLAY
THEME: INTERNET GOVERNANCE RESILIENCE IN PANDEMICS.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) serves to bring people together from various stakeholder
groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet. The IGF informs
and inspires those with policy-making power in both the public and private sectors.
At their annual meeting, delegates discuss, exchange information and share good practices. The
IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address
risks and challenges that arise.
Host country, Ghana: Ghana is centrally located and easily accessible via roads, air travel both
locally and internationally. The country is also known to have limited restrictions hence conducive
to allow for participation. Ghana has adequate resources which will ease the entire process.
Theme: “Internet Governance Resilience in Pandemics”
Internet governance is the development and application of shared principles, norms, rules,
decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or withstand toughness. Pandemic
refers to anything, usually a disease that is prevalent or occurring over a whole country or the world.
With this background and cognizance of the impact COVID -19 had on the world and the Internet
Governance Forum, the MAG group of Team B has chosen the theme, “Internet Governance
Resilience in Pandemics”, to enable a discussion and draw a resolution on:
· how Internet governance responds or thrives in Pandemics;
· the efforts, guidelines, procedures and policies we can develop in preparation for future
· the interventions that can be adapted to aid in achieving greater participation of the different
stakeholder groups in the multi-stakeholder discussions
· efforts of the youth in ensuring digital inclusion and their involvement in the mainstream
BREAKOUT ROOM 1
a. Human rights and gender inclusion (digital rights) in the internet space.
b. Digital inclusion
c. Online Child Protection
d. Policy- freedom of speech, democratic society, internet shutdowns.
Key point : Human rights are to be protected online and offline and states have responsibility
towards that. Those right are : Freedom of Assembly , Freedom of expression and online safety
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Assembly noted, in his 2019 report to
UNGA, that human rights ought to be accorded the same level of protection online, as they do
offline. States have a responsibility to fulfil, protect, promote, respect and observe all persons’ rights
and fundamental freedoms, including digital rights.
In the wake of the coronavirus, there were many cases of civil unrest, resulting from the public
demanding justice against systemic violations and impunities, for example the BLM Movement that
struck a wave all over the world. Due to the limitations arising from COVID, we saw many joining
the protests through online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Freedom of assembly can be
recognized through online platforms in two ways, using digital platforms to organize for the
assemblies and the right to host such assemblies.
States therefore have a responsibility to respect organization of assemblies through online
assemblies. Their responsibility thus mandates them to refrain from interfering and ensure that all
persons have access to the internet. In the digital age, the positive obligation to facilitate the exercise
of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association includes efforts “to bridge the
digital divides, including the gender digital divide.
However, limitation of the right to freedom of assembly online has been exacerbated through
indiscriminate surveillance. Surveillance can be done during the organization/planning phase of the
assembly, during the online assembly and further continue after the online assembly proceeds. The
other tactics used may include filtering of content related to protests; blocking of websites or
platforms used to plan, organize and mobilize protests; closing accounts that belong to organizers,
activists or journalists; and shutting down of the Internet and communications networks- as was
seen in Nigeria, Uganda and India.
Freedom of expression has also been arbitrarily curtailed, against the standards under international
human rights law, under the guise of national security and public health- especially following
COVID. Research has demonstrated the following adverse measures:
· The use of restrictive legislation to silence critical voices, including the use of
· Censorship and restrictions on access to information, including the suspension of media
outlets due to their COVID-19 coverage.
· Attacks on journalists over their reporting of the pandemic, including physical attacks and
There has also been a battle of competing rights, given online sexual violence has been on the rise
through use of digital platforms- against women and girls. We therefore seek states, as well as
private actors and the technical community, to join the fight in denial of freedom of expression in
the context of defamation cases against survivors of sexual violence and prioritization of freedom
of expression over safety and protection from online sexual exploitation and abuse.
Many women are subjected to defamation suits after sharing their survivor stories online, curtailing
others from freely expressing themselves.
Key point : Government needs to know that Internet Rights are Human Rights and States need a
multi-stakeholder approach to address digital rights issues
- Research Collaboration with Academia
- Collaboration with the Organized Private Sector
- Youth-Led Civil Society Task Force
- Continental Broadband Masterplan
Key point : Private sector have a role to play regarding child protection
Child online protection primarily protecting a safer digital environment for every child
Lack of national policies
There is an ineffective implementation of the existing legal framework and inadequate capacities
of professionals working in key departments like the police, prosecution, judges, staff of
Cybercrime Unit and Domestic Violence unit to prevent and respond to cases of online abuse,
violence and exploitation.
- Countries failing to comply with ITU guidelines in protecting children.
- Lack of Content moderation from the Private sector.
-Addressing regulatory framework must need actionable work with collaborative with the private
sector for the effective legal framework
-Content moderation; moderation of contents made accessible to children and this can be achieved
with inputs from stakeholders in academia & civil society to bridge the knowledge gap in
developing user-friendly content in line with ITU recommendations
To ensure Child protection there is a need for content Moderation while private sector will take a
role with the collaboration of private sector
Child protection from online exploitation is possible if there is a collaboration and engagement from
and between stakeholders, and the development of adequate policy following for example ITU
guideline on child’s protection .to
Connecting the non-connected can also be possible if the Private sector and Government engage
BREAKOUT ROOM 2
Accessible and affordability of the internet (ROOM 2).
1. Technical Interventions for Internet Inclusivity and accessibility.
2. Accessibility and Openness of the internet to the vulnerable group.
3. Research into the provision of affordable internet and information accessibility
Need for Government x Private Sector collaborations centred on digital tax reductions to enable
faster and cheaper internet to users.
Internet spaces open up so many possibilities for connecting, learning, working and entertaining.
But not everyone has the chance to easily get access to the internet, and by doing so, some people
feel excluded from online settings.
· Means to learn
· Lack of internet/devices to access it
· Confidence to use and be engaged
For digital inclusivity, accessibility and affordability, we come up with the following suggestions :
1. Make people understand the concept of the internet : what it is and how it simply works!
2. Invest in the building of infrastructures at different and various levels.
3. Share and spread infrastructures across several areas
4. Insert Natural Language Processing (NLP) in the applications developed under the internet
to reduce language barriers.
5. Collaborate with governments, technical communities, Internet Service Providers and
private sectors to improve standard protocols and reduce tax on infrastructures equipment and data
bundles vulnerable groups are made to benefit from the internet through social interventions.
6. Advocate for more community networks, technical workshops and webinars to teach
BREAKOUT ROOM 3
Bridging the knowledge and digital gap.
a. Role of various stakeholder groups in bridging the knowledge gap.
Governments need to deploy emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain &
IoT to reach many people, promote accessibility and bridge the divide. Increased internet
penetration could be achieved through lowering internet costs to enhance its affordability.
There is a need for governments and academic institutions to reform current curriculums to match
current needs and as a solution to the knowledge deficiency. Governments need to enact favourable
laws concerning internet governance to ensure ubiquitous accessibility and affordability. He also
highlighted the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration in the evolution of the internet.
b. Monitoring and implementation of strategies to bridge the knowledge and digital gap
Governments need to set up tools for effective monitoring through support and collaboration with
the technical community and the private sector.
Governments in collaboration with the private sector and the technical community, can formulate
key priority areas and establish indicators that will ensure effective implementation on the key
c. Community training on digital solutions (e-learning platforms, etc)
There is a need for each stakeholder to play their individual role in training communities on digital
solutions. The civil society can establish community education programs to enlighten masses on
the internet and the services that can be offered. Businesses/Private sector could also educate
consumers on benefits of the internet. Academia could include studies on digital solutions in the
curriculum and also organise Continuous Development Programs for professionals to highlight
current internet trends. The government could also start campaigns to train people across various
media and fora.
d. Collaboration with Govts, NGOs, CBOs, to build community networks.
Establishment of pacts between all stakeholders to guide collaboration amongst all of them as a way
to build community networks.
Questions and Answers
How best can the knowledge gaps today among government employees be eliminated? Call for
research into the precise knowledge gaps and then reforming curriculums to address these specific
Why internet costs in Africa are high compared to elsewhere and how the internet could be made
affordable. This can be achieved by introduction of modern networks such as 5G networks, internet
balloons and low orbit satellites to bring internet costs down. She also called for reform in the
government's policies to bring the internet costs down.
Reduction of taxes on the internet to achieve lower internet costs. Africa’s high internet costs were
due to various reasons and therefore a multi-stakeholder approach was needed to tackle these
underlying reasons to reduce internet costs. Collaborations between governments and the private
sector to bring internet prices down.
The government policies and taxes are unfair for achieving low internet prices. Looking into the
need to end monopolies in provision of internet services as a way to reduce internet prices in Africa.
One of the other reasons is based on the fact that monopolised internet markets act as a barrier and
called for reforms of laws and policies concerning the internet to ensure lower prices. This brings
us to the need for cooperation in ensuring achievement of lower internet prices.
What are the possible solutions to stereotypical stigmatisation of youths in Nigeria who own laptops
as scammers and criminals by the security forces. This can be achieved through retraining of the
police and all concerned units to change their skewed ideologies. Disbandment of SARS and
collaboration among all stakeholders to end this stigma and harassment.
BREAKOUT ROOM 4
Cybersecurity and Data Protection.
Cybersecurity is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems,
networks, and data from malicious attacks. Data privacy, sometimes also referred to as information
privacy, is an area of data protection that concerns the proper handling of sensitive data including,
notably, personal data but also other confidential data, such as certain financial data and intellectual
a. Utilizations of health data in the Covid 19 period.
In the health system, data privacy is not respected in some countries which leads to institutions and
companies misusing client’s data therefore there is a need to improve methods of keeping data
b. Threats to data privacy or encryption.
The is a need for improved awareness in the area of data privacy and the threats surrounding it. It
is advised that stakeholders create data privacy awareness campaigns.
c. Evolution of the Internet of Things in the Health Sector.
It is now possible to use IoT to monitor patient's vitals such as heart rate, temperature as well as
blood pressure and there is a need to protect patient’s data to avoid data loss and data theft.
Stakeholders can provide or create applications to monitor heart rate, temperature and store this
data for statistical purposes and providing doctors history of their clients vital.
It is important to note that there is a need for upgrades in the data protection infrastructure to provide
a safe environment for a person’s data to be safely stored. Lastly, we are now living in an era where
IoT is now changing the way we operate in the health sector providing an efficient way of
To conclude, the MOCK IGF has offered a taste of how the real IGF occurs and the members
appreciated the discussions. The role play was something that highlighted the need for a
multistakeholder approach as we all combined from various stakeholder groups and made the
MOCK IGF a success. Such platforms will be used to continue the discussions and come up with
some solutions to critical internet governance issues.
Thanks to the course moderator (Esther Mwema) for the coordination and cooperation throughout
the four weeks and more so the MOCK IGF preparation.